School funding plans are frightening

Public meeting with MP John Mann to discuss Bassetlaw Hospital clinical services review information. Mr Mann at the meeting. (w110115-1c)
Public meeting with MP John Mann to discuss Bassetlaw Hospital clinical services review information. Mr Mann at the meeting. (w110115-1c)

Some people have proposed that Bassetlaw has its own ambulance hub.

They do not understand what a hub is, how it is funded and what its purpose would be. What we need are two well equipped ambulance stations in Worksop and Retford.

Meanwhile across the country, ambulance response times are being made to look good by fiddling the statistics. Static defibrillators, housed within any building, can be managed by ambulance trusts. This means they train volunteer to operate them and ensure the equipment is in working order. Whilst this is a good thing, when such a defibrillator is used in the community it means that an ambulance will not be sent when there is a 999 call for a heart attack. This response is then recorded as the ambulance response time, thus improving figures for average response times even though no ambulance has even been dispatched. If an ambulance is then required, its response time is not logged as this is already deemed to have been done.

I have found a frightening set of proposals for school funding across Notts. Produced by our friends in County Hall Nottingham, it changes the formula for school funding. Some schools do well under the new formula, others lose out badly.

It is designed to create a funding time bomb for small schools, many of which will be forced to close within a couple of years.

It is the biggest attack on villages that I have seen in my eleven years as Bassetlaw’s MP. From Langold, to Rhodesia to Shireoaks, to Sutton and Mattersey and many more, their primary schools are well and truly shafted. Meanwhile some schools in the wealthier parts near Nottingham get a large funding increase, as do a number of urban schools in Worksop - but not all.

The County Council is blaming Michael Gove, Schools Minister, who will no doubt tell these small schools to become academies. If the take this route the advice is to employ a full time finance officer- so we spend taxpayers money on accountants instead of teachers. Primary schools adopting academy status makes little sense.

However I am pleased to see how successful Valley and Portland continue to be.

On a recent visit I congratulated them on their fantastic exam progress and spent a lot of time discussing how best to bring in real apprenticeships. They are making more big decisions soon and they will have my backing in the direction they are taking both schools. I will also not be backing down on my support for a strict discipline and uniform policy in our schools, with no compromise and no exceptions.